Every action we take – from the food we eat to the way we travel – has a carbon footprint, an environmental burden that one British design agency wants to help us keep track of.

WorldBeing by Layer Design is a concept for a wearable and social app that would allow wearers to measure their carbon usage throughout the day, receive notifications of accomplishments, get rewards, and engage with a like-minded community.

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges currently faced by humanity with greenhouse gas emissions from human activities being one of its major causes. If we are to prevent this dangerous global warming, actively reducing our carbon emissions is the first step towards increasing the wellbeing of our planet.

But how do we change our way of life, if we don’t know what kind of impact our actions have? This is what Benjamin Hubert of experience design agency Layer wanted to address when in 2015 he created WorldBeing, a concept for a wearable and app that provides constant awareness of carbon usage throughout the day.

By monitoring our daily habits, such as purchases, commutes and home energy consumption, Worldbeing creates a comprehensive map of an individual’s carbon usage. This way, users would be able to better understand the impact of their way of life, take responsibility for their choices and make informed decisions.

The screen displaying Carbon Clouds, a dynamic visual element that indicates the user’s daily progress and proximity to the target of carbon usage. © Layer

Layer anticipates a future where restaurants, supermarkets, and other retail businesses will be required to list the carbon footprint of their products and services, and where contactless payments will be widespread. Two factors which are key to how the Worldbeing wearable and app would work.

The device, connected to the user’s real-time account on the WorldBeing app, could be used to make contactless payments. The data collected from these payments would then be used to calculate carbon usage.

Direct contact charging would be used as it is 60% more efficient than the induction charging methods, according to Layer. © Layer

According to the company, the device would also be designed to minimise energy usage and carbon emissions, with a wristband made from recycled e-waste, an E Ink display selected for its ultra-low power consumption, and direct contact charging using a small stand for the wearable.

Besides monitoring our personal carbon footprint through graphs and detailed reports, Worldbeing’s app would also allow setting daily targets, comparing results with friends and inviting them to challenges. The company’s ultimate goal with this tool is to enable a community of like-minded users to inspire a movement and transform the world.

WorldBeing was presented in 2015 in partnership with the Carbon Trust. That same year, the project has undergone a Crowdshouting campaign with Thunderclap to raise awareness of the concept and eventually bring it into life. But for the moment, according to Layer, Worldbeing remains a prototype design with no talks for sending into production.

No matter what the future may hold for Worldbeing, the company has made clear since the beginning that the project should be regarded as a “conversation starter and a call to action”. “There has never been a better time to use design as a tool to create meaningful conversation around our personal responsibility to make changes to our lifestyles to stop global warming.”, said Layer’s founder Benjamin Hubert in the press release for Worldbeing’s launch.

Yet, as the old saying goes “old habits die hard” and anyone who ever tried to change their habits knows how difficult it can turn out to be.

So, at City of Future, what we’d like to ask is:

If given the chance to know the real environmental impact of your everyday actions (with Worldbeing or any other eco-friendly tech), how differently would you act as a consumer? And how willing would you be to change your daily routines? 

Drop us a line or two in the comment box below!

Edited by City of Future’s staff.

Layer Design

Layer Design

Strategic industrial design agency led by Benjamin Hubert. Layer creates products from app design and the next generation of wearables to smart domestic appliances, fast moving consumer goods, and intelligent furniture systems.

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